09 July 2004
You just have to love the strangely productive play of the blogosphere.
While I was out cycling, Matt spent a sizeable chunk of a sunny Helsinki Sunday visualising his del.icio.us tags in Illustrator, "by multiplying font size by number of entries per tag, then placing them without much care." (I don't believe that last part is strictly true). This was enough to inspire Kevan to "knock together a bit of script to generate messier equivalents in CSS, for any username". Enter extisp.icio.us:
extispicious, a. [L. extispicium an inspection of the innards for divination; extra the entrails + specer to look at.] Relating to the inspection of entrails for prognostication.
My extisp.icio.us looks like this:
I was not at all surprised to see collecting and children writ large but some of the other word sizes surprised me. extisp.icio.us is to geeky blogs what quizilla is to LiveJournal. Or, to put it in Mattspeak, extisp.icio.us is phrenological, an opportunity to read the bumps in bloggers' outboard-brains.
I think Clay's going a bit far when he asks for the visualisation to become social software. I can't see how much sense could be distilled from either 'concatenated users' or 'inverse mapping', and inverse mapping potentially triggers a nonsensical link-collecting competition. In some ways it also misses the point. extisp.icio.us is a glimpse of individual obsessions. You combine Clay and Seb and 'social software' might get bigger. You key in 'social software' and Clay and Seb might have the biggest names...
But back to the productive play of the blogosphere. Matt stayed in to visualise his del.icio.us tags; I went cycling and got a surprising visualisation of my own del.icio.us tags a couple of days later. The moral of the story? I dunno. Maybe that it pays to know interesting people who sometimes stay indoors more than they should. We're going camping in
Hanko Porkkala this weekend, so our bumps will be more about things in the night than phrenology.
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